AA, or Alcoholics Anonymous is a recovery program that alcoholics around the world have used and continue to use. Many feel that the program is a vital part in the development of their recovery from addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are offered worldwide in a variety of languages. They are also available online for those who are unable to get to a meeting. For more information on alcoholics anonymous, please click the link.
The Alcoholics Anonymous program has several parts of their program that members are aware of and use. These include the 12 Steps, 12 Traditions and the AA promises.
The AA promises can be found in Chapter 6 of the big book. The exact page number can vary, depending on the language and print of the book you are using. Either way, Chapter 6 would be the place to look for them.
This Chapter of the book is usually associated with Step 9 of the 12 Steps. This would be the step that involves making amends for past behaviors. If attending meetings, you may also observe that the AA promises are often read at the conclusion of meetings.
The AA promises in Chapter 9 follow a passage. This can be found on pages 83-84 of the Big Book. The passage is as follows:
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
Below are the AA Promises that can be found in the Big Book:
1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
3. We will comprehend the word serenity
4. We will know peace
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
One apparent theme in the 12 promises, is that things will get better if you are working a healthy recovery.
Finding hope when at rock bottom can be incredibly difficult for an alcoholic. The darkness can feel daunting and overwhelming. The promises can highlight some of the benefits that they can experience in recovery and maybe help provide motivation that they were otherwise lacking. They can also help provide a sense of encouragement for those who are struggling in the beginning phases of their recovery.
Another theme that you may have picked up on was serenity. The Serenity Prayer is read at each meeting, and many alcoholics choose to recite the prayer throughout their day when needed.
There are many versions of the serenity prayer that can be used, a common version is as follows:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Anxiety can be common experience for individuals in active addiction. Anxiety can contribute to a person feeling as though they need to fix or control different struggles that they face. Learning to relinquish this control is a difficult task that many find worthwhile.
The concept of serenity fits well with the day-by-day approach that you will often find in AA meetings, and literature. As mentioned above, these come with time and practice.
Another theme worth mentioning is Service. This too is a significant part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Turning a negative experience you have had into an opportunity to help others in a similar situation can be powerful.
As mentioned above, service does not have to be something extravagant. It can be something as simple as helping set up or clean up for a meeting. For some, service can be working with a sponsee. This will depend on the person, and the time they are able to give.
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